Knowing how to increase fiber intake is important, as there are many things to consider like timing, food sources, and quantity. Keep reading to learn more about what fiber is, food sources of fiber, and why it's important to consume fiber!
What is Dietary Fiber?
Dietary fiber is an indigestible compound, meaning our body cannot digest and absorb it. It's a type of carbohydrate and often listed under the Carbohydrates section of a Nutrition Facts label.
There are two main types:
- Soluble fiber - this type of fiber dissolves in water and slows digestion. Food sources include beans, oats, chia seeds, berries, bananas, apples, carrots, pears, broccoli, and onions.
- Insoluble fiber - this type of fiber does not dissolve in fiber and can increase movement through the GI tract (so it can help relieve some constipation). Sources include whole grains (quinoa, brown rice), wheat bran, seeds, leafy greens, walnuts, and almonds.
Benefits of Fiber
There are so many benefits of consuming adequate fiber. Some of those include, but are not limited to:
- Blood sugar regulation
- Lowering cholesterol
- Promoting digestion
- Assisting with bowel regulation
- Promoting a healthy gut microbiome
- Keeping us fuller longer
How Much Fiber Do I Need?
Women should consume 25g of fiber per day and men should consume 38g per day. The average American intake doesn't hit these recommended numbers, so it may be something worth paying attention to!
High Fiber Foods
There are a lot of different foods that contain fiber, so I wanted to break it down into categories.
How to Increase Fiber Intake
Now that you know the benefits, how much fiber you should aim to consume each day, and food sources, it's important to properly increase your intake. Rather than drastically increasing intake over the course of 24 hours, I highly recommend to go slow. Rapid increases in fiber intake can lead to GI issues like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, etc.
I'd start by making small changes here and there as opposed to greatly altering your typical diet!
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High Fiber Recipes
- High Fiber Smoothie Recipe
- Stovetop Apple Butter Recipe
- Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal with Coffee Yogurt Sauce
- Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookies
- Coconut Cream Overnight Oats
- Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
- Chicken Sausage & Kale Soup
- Roasted Ranch Cauliflower
- Healthy Beef & Lentil Chili
- Crispy Roasted Broccoli
- Kale Caesar with Crispy Chickpeas